23 to stand trial for massive bank scam in Vietnam

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Twenty-three people, including bank employees, will stand trial for their involvement in a scam of nearly VND4 trillion (US$187.92 million) at Vietinbank in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.

According to the indictment, Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, 36, a former deputy chief of the bank's risk management office in HCMC, was the kingpin.

In 2007 she borrowed more than VND200 billion ($9.39 million) from banks, companies and individuals to do real-estate deals.

Afterward, she continued to borrow at high interest rates, which took her debts to hundreds of billions of dong as of 2010 even as her business suffered losses.

Between March 2010 and September 2011, she met with many banks, companies and individuals, convincing them to deposit money at two Vietinbank branches in and around HCMC with interest rates of 18-36 percent a year.

She forged seals and documents of Vietinbank and related companies and banks.

She then led her accomplices to steal money deposited by three banks, nine companies, and three individuals by using forged Vietinbank deposit certificates and other faked documents.

Prosecutors said Nhu and her accomplices managed to swindle VND3.98 trillion.

The kingpin was charged with "fraud" and "forging seals and documents."

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Many of her accomplices were leaders and employees at Vietinbank branches, and directors and vice directors of companies.

According to the HCMC People's Court, some employees with related banks who allegedly received commissions from depositing money to Nhu will also be summoned to the hearing.

Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) was among the banks that lost its deposited money to Nhu.

Prosecutors said six former leaders of the bank illegally approved the deposit of nearly VND719 billion ($34.17 million) at the Vietinbank branches between June and September 2011. All the money was pocketed by Nhu.

However, their crimes will be tried in a separate case.

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